By Collins Matubwi
Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi has called on the president to suspend the finance law that has affected the prices of basic commodities.
Mr Mudavadi wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend the Finance Act 2021 that came into effect on 1st July arguing that its implementation will burden Kenyans more especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government ought to look at ways of cushioning Kenyans against the devastating impact of covid-19 on their livelihoods, not burdening them with taxes that further condemn them into abject poverty,” said the ANC party leader.
Speaking on Saturday during his tour of Nakuru County, the 2022 presidential candidate said while the government needs to raise money to fund its development projects and meet the recurrent expenditure, it should not do so by hitting the masses where it matters and pains most.
“Raising tax on gas will have disabling impact on the family kitchen and environment. This will make the life Kenyans worse than it is already,” he said during his two-day tour of the county where he was hosted by Governor Lee Linyajui.
To meet the 2021/2022 budget deficit of close to Sh1.6 trillion, Mr Mudavadi has called on the government to renegotiate its huge international and local debts, and reschedule the debts and inject the accrued money into SMEs to help jumpstart the ailing economy.
“Hunger is real in many parts of our County. Many families cannot afford a daily meal. People have no money in their pockets; the Covid pandemic has impoverished many people who lost jobs or closed their small and medium businesses,” he said.
At the same time, Mudavadi said failure by the government to release money to pay pending bills by counties is affecting the economy in counties and sending many traders into depression and eventually affecting the livelihoods of many families.
“I know that we are broke as a country and we are borrowing to pay salaries. But Government is killing the Goose that would lay the Golden Egg. Pending bills has killed local entrepreneurs, wealth and employment creation in counties. The Treasury should prioritize the disbursement to counties. It should release all funds due to counties by July 30th so that counties can settle pending bills and spur economic activity in counties,” he said.
Noting that corruption has continued to deprive many Kenyans the much needed development projects, Mudavadi said the thriving corruption in public projects need to be checked and those found culpable in swindling money meant for the construction of Itare Dam should not be allowed to hold public office.
The construction of the Sh38-billion dam in the county has stalled after the contractor pulled out citing lack of funds to continue with the project due to corruption.
“The revival and completion of the dam is very crucial to the region. The completion of Itare dam will scale up investments in agribusiness value chains and enhance value addition for produce from Nakuru including potatoes, pyrethrum and vegetables and this is one project that is dear to me,” he said.
Mudavadi called on the people of Nakuru and the Rift Valley to ensure peace prevails as the country heads to next year’s general election. In particular, the 2022 presidential hopeful called on the government to solve all land issues that have been the root-cause of chaos during electioneering period.
“Unresolved land issues have been the source of conflicts in this region leading to terrible ethnic clashes that claim lives. The State should resolve the land issues before elections to avoid clashes. Historical land injustices bestride the area too,” he said.
On BBI, Mudavadi said if the referendum will not be possible, some of the issues in the draft bill can be implemented through the parliamentary initiative. “The process of the parliamentary initiative should be anchored in trust and inclusivity,” he said.
Governor Kinyajui called for the respect of the election timelines as outlined in the constitution and if there will be a compelling need to alter the polls date, Kenyans should be well explained to.
“If we don’t get to a referendum, some of the issues addressed in the BBI draft Bill can be met through the parliamentary initiate as minimum changes. Not all issues in the BBI Bill are unacceptable,” said the governor.
During his tour of the county, Mudavadi held consultative meetings with elders from different communities living in the county, business leaders and youth groups who all offered their support for his presidential bid.